|Hidden in the green oasis of Grapevine Canyon in far northern Death Valley, the Death Valley Ranch, or Scotty's Castle as it is more commonly known, is a window into the life and times of the Roaring 20's and Depression 30's. It was and is an engineer's dream home, a wealthy matron's vacation home and a man-of-mystery's hideout and getaway.|
Walter Scott, Death Valley Scotty, born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, convinced local people that he had built the castle with money from his rich secret gold mines in the area. Wealthy Chicagoan Albert Mussey Johnson actually built the house as a vacation getaway for himself and his wife Bessie. Scotty was the mystery, the cowboy, and the entertainer, but he was also a friend. Albert was the brains and the money. Two men as different as night and day, from different worlds and with different visions - who shared a dream.
|My first view of Scotty's Castle although I was still over a mile away|
|As much as I could get in one shot. Scotty's Castle is a two-story Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style Villa. However, in an area filled with natural wonders a man-made wonder just isn't as exciting.|
|There were some really cool trees there|
|I wandered around on a sort of a self-guided tour of the grounds|
|On the left is a courtyard. There is another man on the other end taking a photo at the same time as I took mine.|
The photo on the right doesn't belong here, but who cares?
|I walked across this structure, but I have no idea what it was. Given the darkness at night it could have housed a planatarium.|
|There were cacti there|
|And a desert planter|
|And blooming flowers in the August desert|
|And this cool spiral staircase|
|There was a natural wonder that made the trip up even more worth the drive.|
|After an hour or so, I headed back down the Grapevine and over to Ubehebe Crater|
|Finally arriving at the Ubehebe Crater.|
By the way the Racetrack is an area where large rocks move across a dry lake botttom without any explanable means of propulsion. If it had not been a long drive on a gravel road, I would have gone to see them. If you are interested, do a search for Death Valley Racetrack or sailing stones.
|The Ubehebe (You be, He be) Crater. It is located at the north tip of the Cottonwood Mountains. The crater is half a mile (one kilometer) wide and 500 to 777 feet deep. The age of the crater is estimated from 2,000 to 7,000 years old. "Ubehebe" is a Timbisha Native American word meaning "Big basket in the rock." To the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe this crater is Wosa, "Coyote's burden basket," the place where the people emerged to spread in four directions across the land.|
|The crater is evidence of the forces that shaped and are continuing to shape Death Valley. Unlike most geologic feathures, the age of Ubehebe Crater is measured in thousands of years rather than millions of years.|
Rising magma, hot, molten rock, turns ground water into steam. Intense steam pressure builds until the superheated combination of steam and rock explodes, creating a crater like Ubehebe. There are many volcanic craters in this area of Death Valley. Ubehebe is the largest.
|Views from Ubehebe|